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Independent debates of the candidates for the position of Head of Management Board of Public Broadcaster

Council of Europe Office in Ukraine Kyiv, Ukraine 20 April 2021
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Independent debates of the candidates for the position of Head of Management Board of Public Broadcaster

On April 19, 2021, the independent debates of candidates for the position of Head of Management Board of Public Broadcaster was held, where participants discussed the achievements and challenges of the Public Broadcaster, and four candidates for the position of Head of Management Board presented their programs.

The event was organized by the Project “EU and Council of Europe working together to support freedom of media in Ukraine” in cooperation with the Coalition Reanimation Package of Reforms and the Center for Democracy and Rule of Law. The Public Broadcaster UA:PBC and the SCO “Detector Media” provided information support.

We would like to remind that during March 2 - April 1, 2021 there was a possibility to submit the documents for participation in competition for a position of the Head of the Management Board of UA:PBC. The Supervisory Board of UA:PBC admitted 13 out of 16 candidates to participate in the first stage of the competitive selection, and only 4 candidates were admitted to the second stage, who presented their programs during the conference, namely: Vitaliy Dokalenko, Oksana Tsybulya, Mykola Chernotytskyi, and Andriy Shapovalov. On April 27, the Supervisory Board will elect the Head of the Management Board of UA:PBC for the next 4 years.

The conference consisted of two parts. In the first, the participants discussed the achievements of the Public Broadcaster in the Ukrainian society and the challenges for the next period. In the second part, the debate took place between the candidates: the candidates for the position of Head of Management Board presented their programs, answered questions of the moderator Andriy Kulakov, Programme Director of  CSO “Internews-Ukraine”, and of each other.

“The Council of Europe recommendations devote significant attention to public broadcasting and establish high standards for remit, governing bodies, editorial independence, financing and gender equality. According to the standards, independence is a key requirement of public service media.  The rules on management boards of public broadcasters, especially their membership, should be defined in a manner which avoids placing the boards at risk of any political or other interference,” said Steen Nørlov, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Ukraine.

In addition, the Council of Europe standards on procedures for the appointment of the management of public broadcasters, as mentioned by Sally Broughton Micova, Council of Europe expert, set out the following principles:

  • independence from political or other interference;
  • accountability to society;
  • devotion to the interests of society.

An independent and financially stable public broadcaster is a necessary precondition for democracy and democratic values.

Zurab Alasania, Head of Management Board of UA:PBC, said: “Now journalists from other media groups envy their colleagues from the UA:PBC that no one dictates anything to them. The Public Broadcaster also demonstrates integrity in both journalistic standards and financial transparency.”

Also, the current Head of UA:PBC among the achievements of the Public Broadcaster in recent years highlighted the following:

  • optimization of UA:PBC staff: in 2017 there were 7311 employees, and in 2020 -  4212;
  • increase in profits from commercial activities: in 2017 this figure was 33 million UAH, and in 2020 - 73.5 million UAH;
  • salary increase: in 2017 the average salary was 7460 UAH, and in 2020 - 13692 UAH;
  • payment of all debts of the company: in 2017 the total debt of UA:PBC on the Japanese loan and to EuroNews amounted to 381 million UAH, and in 2020 there were no debts at all.

Speaking about the formation of a Public Broadcaster in Ukraine, Igor Rozkladai, Deputy Director of Center for Democracy and Rule of Law, stressed: “Public Broadcaster is not about ratings. Of course, the Public Broadcaster should pay attention to its audience and fight for it, but the Public Broadcaster is about values ​​and democracy”. Igor Rozkladai also noted that, although the reform is still ongoing, the Public Broadcaster shows changes in the quality of content, and journalists are motivated to work, because there they have the opportunity to remain impartial and adhere to media standards. This makes an important contribution to the formation of the Ukrainian journalism.

The Head of Management Board of Public Broadcaster is to be elected by the members of the Supervisory Board of UA:PBC. The Supervisory Board guarantees the independence of the public broadcaster.

Tetyana Rudenko, Member of the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting, said: “Although the Public Broadcaster has had several years of productive work and has its own achievements, it is now on the threshold of a new stage. For the first time there is a process of re-election of the governing bodies of UA:PBC - Head of Management Board  and the team of people who will lead UA:PBC for the next 4 years. This is a competition of ideas, views and vectors of movement for the company in the near future. Choosing the best candidate is an important task for the Supervisory Board. The National Council is ready to cooperate with the new Head, so that all good traditions continue. And we believe that no matter who comes to this responsible position, the Public Broadcaster will remain public.”

Speaking of the independence of the Public, it is important to provide conditions for its sustainable and predictable funding. This was emphasized by Denys Denysenko, Executive Director of the Coalition of the Reanimation Package of Reforms.

After listening to the debate between the candidates, Mykyta Poturayev, Chair of the Parliamentary Committee on Humanitarian and Information Policy, summed up: “I am convinced that all participants of the competition, the Supervisory Board, the future Head of the Management Board, future board members will make every effort to help Public Broadcaster have influence, because it is a democratic institution. If it has influence and weight, it means that democracy will be strengthened in the country.”

Conference recording:

Background information:

The project «EU and Council of Europe working together to support freedom of media in Ukraine», funded by the EU and CoE, aims to enhance the role of media, its freedom and safety.

Follow the news of the project on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CoEUPSIS/

 


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Голова Офісу, Представник Генерального секретаря Ради Європи  з питань координації програм співробітництва Ради Європи
пан Стен Ньорлов

Head of Office, Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on the coordination of cooperation programmes of the Council of Europe 
Mr Steen Nørlov

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